Ahoy there me mateys! I love Brandon Sanderson’s work and featured him in me author Broadside No. 3. That was published back on June 1, 2016. Since then, I apparently haven’t read anything by him! Travesty. Luckily, I finally listened to this short story collection. I am certainly glad I did.
This book contains all three novellas about Stephen Leeds. Stephen is an odd sort who hallucinates personalities (aspects). He has over 50 of them. These personalities are created whenever he needs to become an expert on a new skill. A thing he can accomplish in hours. To pay for the mansion to house them all, Stephen solves mysteries.
The problem with his aspects is that it is getting harder and harder to control them. Last time he lost control, one died. With that death came the loss of knowledge that the aspect knew. So when he goes off to solve the latest problem, he has to contend with the aspects not following orders and behaving more strangely than usual. Will Stephen get them back under control? Or will he lose more aspects and perhaps his sanity?
I absolutely loved this premise and the aspects. I loved that Stephen knows they are not real but treats them like they are (most of the time). I love their relationships with each other. I loved that some aspects had their own hallucinations. I loved that some aspects knew they were imaginary and some believed they were real. I ended up falling in love with both Stephen and (most of) his aspects. In particular I loved Audrey, Ivy, Tobais, and J.C. I wanted them to be “real.” I also loved Stephen’s butler.
Other crew have had issues with the series ending. And I kinda see why. It makes sense within the boundaries of the story and the characters. But at the same time, there is something unsatisfactory about it. I am not sure if it is because the end seems so final. There is no need for future stories about Stephen. And yet I somehow want more from Stephen and his aspects. Could it be that I just am too in love with them to let them go?
Whatever the case may be, I adored this trilogy of novellas and find that yet again Sanderson has given me another amazing tale to ponder the ramifications of.
Side note: I still need to read Oathbringer. At 1248 pages, I need time to savour it. Maybe by the end of this year? Anyone want to give me a refresher for book 2? Arrr!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
Stephen Leeds is perfectly sane. It’s his hallucinations who are mad.
A genius of unrivaled aptitude, Stephen can learn any new skill, vocation, or art in a matter of hours. However, to contain all of this, his mind creates hallucinatory people—Stephen calls them aspects—to hold and manifest the information. Wherever he goes, he is joined by a team of imaginary experts to give advice, interpretation, and explanation. He uses them to solve problems… for a price.
Stephen’s brain is getting a little crowded and the aspects have a tendency of taking on lives of their own. When a company hires him to recover stolen property—a camera that can allegedly take pictures of the past—Stephen finds himself in an adventure crossing oceans and fighting terrorists. What he discovers may upend the foundation of three major world religions—and, perhaps, give him a vital clue into the true nature of his aspects.
This fall, Tor Books will publish Brandon Sanderson’s Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds. The collection will include the science fiction novellas Legion and Legion: Skin Deep, published together for the first time, as well as a brand new Stephen Leeds novella, Lies of the Beholder. This never-been-published novella will complete the series.
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